Doctors sell short-term benefits of weight loss surgery without disclosing long-term failure statistics

Surgeons are in the business of selling surgery. It appears that, like any salesperson interested in making as much money as possible, they may be pitching the benefits without mentioning the downside.

In the case of weight loss surgery, there is not only the downside of horrendous side effects but also the reality that, long-term, it does not appear to be a very impressive solution for obesity.

For example, research has revealed that a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG), a type of bariatric surgery, may result in a desired, short-term outcome. A substantial amount of weight is typically lost, type-2 diabetes can go into remission and an obese person finally has control of their weight.

Long-term results, however, are painting a much different picture, revealing that patients tend to regain the weight and, understandably, once more suffer from diabetes.

Here is the study conclusion, according to JAMA Surgery:

Undergoing LSG induced efficient weight loss and a major improvement in obesity-related comorbidities, with mostly no correlation to percentage of excess weight loss. There was a significant weight regain and a decrease in remission rates of diabetes and, to a lesser extent, other comorbidities over time.

Data was collected from the 443 surgeries that took place between 2006 and 2013 at the Beillinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel. From there, the doctors collected data on these same patients during their one, three, and five-year check-ups.

While the first year tended to show substantial improvements with only smaller percentages failing to uphold the weight loss, year seven was dismal. By then, nearly 50% of all the patients had gained their weight back and 80% once again suffered from diabetes.

With this data, the doctors should eliminate the use of LSG as a quick-fix to such an enormous problem. It’s typically accepted that obesity is a combination of physical and mental issues. Without both being addressed at a causal level, a patient will simply revert back to their old eating habits when given enough time.

Too often, doctors recommend LSG, pitching the potential short-term benefits following the operation, instead of taking into account the real chance of failure. What if more patients knew the truth and made informed decisions? That might spell the end of LSG, among other medical procedures that tend to line doctors' pockets.

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